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Christmas Is Murder

**STARRED** Review from Booklist:

The first installment in this new mystery series is a winner. The amateur detective is Rex Graves, a Scottish barrister, fond of Sudoku puzzles and Latin quotations. In an old-fashioned conceit, Challinor begins with a cast of characters, along with hints of possible motives for each. Although set firmly in the present, this tale reads like a classic country-house mystery. Rex and the others are snowed in at the Swanmere Manor hotel in East Sussex, England. Being the last to arrive (on two tennis rackets lashed to his feet à la snowshoes), Rex immediately hears of the unexpected demise of one of the other guests. Even though they are in touch with the outside world, the authorities instruct the hotel staff to keep the body in a cool room with the windows open. By the time the police arrive days later, additional bodies have piled up and motives are rampant, but Rex has identified the murderer. At times, it seems we are playing Clue or perhaps enjoying a contemporary retelling of a classic Agatha Christie tale ("And Then There Were None," or "At Bertram’s Hotel") with a charming new sleuth. A must for cozy fans.